Belfast Telegraph

Cut MLA pay by a third now, says MLA Doug Beattie

By Victoria Leonard

A letter from the Assembly Commission asking the Secretary of State to freeze MLAs’ pay should have gone even further and urged her to immediately cut their salary, an Ulster Unionist representative has said.

Doug Beattie spoke out after Assembly Speaker Robin Newton wrote to Karen Bradley asking her to withhold MLAs’ £500 annual pay rise, which would come into effect on April 1, taking their salaries to £50,000.

In the letter, Mr Newton said the Commission — which looks after the day-to-day running of the Assembly — believed “it would be appropriate for the Secretary of State to take action to ensure that the increase is not made amid the ongoing political difficulties”.

The Commission accepted that the pay rise is “not a matter on which it has discretion”, but said that such an increase was “not appropriate in the circumstances”.

However, it is understood that the letter did not call for the 27.5% pay cut to MLAs’ salaries recommended to the Northern Ireland Secretary by an independent adviser last December.

On Monday Mrs Bradley told the Commons she was “minded” to cut MLAs’ pay by 27.5%, but would consult with parties before making a final decision.

Mr Beattie said the letter should have demanded that MLAs’ pay be slashed.

“There should be no more dithering — the 27.5% pay cut should be implemented immediately based on current wages, and there should be no increase in April,” he said.

Belfast Telegraph

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